Veronica Tennant, during her illustrious 25-year career as Prima Ballerina with The National Ballet of Canada – won a devoted following on the international stage as a dancer of extraordinary versatility and dramatic power. Born in London England, Veronica Tennant began her ballet lessons at four at the Arts Educational School, and with her move to Canada at the age of nine, started training with Betty Oliphant and then the National Ballet School. While she missed a year on graduation due to her first back injury, she entered the company in 1964 as its youngest Principal Dancer, chosen by Celia Franca and John Cranko for her debut as Juliet. She went on to earn accolades in every major classical role and extensive neo-classical repertoire as well as having several contemporary ballets choreographed for her. She worked with the legendary choreographers; Sir Frederick Ashton, Roland Petit, Jiri Kylian, John Neumeier, and championed Canadian choreographers such as James Kudelka, Ann Ditchburn, Constantin Patsalas and David Allan.
Tennant danced across North and South America, Europe and Japan, with the greatest male dancers of our time, including Erik Bruhn (her mentor), and Rudolf Nureyev, Anthony Dowell, Peter Schaufuss, Fernando Bujones and Mikhail Baryshnikov (immediately after he defected in Toronto, 1974). She was cast by Erik Bruhn to dance his La Sylphide with Niels Kehlet when Celia Franca brought The National Ballet of Canada to London England for the first time in 1972; and was Canada's 'first Aurora' dancing in the premiere of Rudolf Nureyev's Sleeping Beauty September 1, 1972 and at the company's debut at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York, 1973. Tennant gave her parting
|performances in her signature role in Romeo and Juliet dancing with Raymond Smith in February 1989; and in a subsequent tribute Gala where she danced excerpts from; Giselle with Frank Augustyn, Washington Square with Charles Kirby, Canciones with Kevin Pugh, and Masada with Rex Harrington; as well as the final pas de deux from Onegin with Raymond Smith – and a surprise first and last time performance of the pas de deux from Cranko's Taming of the Shrew with Richard Cragun. Her farewell gala November 21 in 1989 was called – A Passion For Dance – Celebrating the Tennant Magic. Veronica Tennant was the first dancer in Canada to be made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1975, and was elevated in 2004 to the rank of Companion of the Order of Canada, the country's highest honour.|
|Romeo & Juliet||Tennant & Smith||Romeo & Juliet||Final Curtain – Juliet||Romeo & Juliet
|Dramatic Roles||Onegin||Canciones||Don Quixote||Villanella|
|Baryshnikov & Tennant||Nureyev & Tennant
|Dowell & Tennant||Tennant & Nureyev||Tennant & Nureyev|
Love & Death
|Washington Square||White Swan||Black Swan||Sleeping Beauty|
|MET Billboard||La Sylphide on CBC||Tennant, Bruhn & Nureyev||Sleeping Beauty Premiere
|Media Farewell Montage|
|First Interview &
excerpt from Giselle &
|Excerpts from Dancer of Distinction & Veronica, Completing the Circle||Canciones||Mad Shadows||Sleeping Beauty|
|Villanella||Satie & Suzanne
|VERONICA TENNANT SURPASSES HERSELF WITH NUREYEV IN SLEEPING BEAUTY
Veronica Tennant had already demonstrated her credentials as a stylist in her sustained balances of the Act 1 Rose Adagio, but opposite the iron curtain leaper from Leningrad the lady quite surpassed herself. What a sight these two made.
William Littler – The Toronto Star, 1972
VERONICA TENNANT: A CANADIAN BALLERINA
In every epoch there is a handful of dancers who, beyond overt proof of talent and training, possesses the quintessential quality of ballerina. What is that mystique, and how does it compound the lovely aura? It has become evident that the Canadian Ballet has produced a ballerina. Her name is Veronica Tennant.
Olga Maynard – Dance Magazine, 1972
THE NIGHT THEY DANCED "GISELLE"
Of all the performances danced by American Ballet Theatre and the National Ballet of Canada at Lincoln Center, none were more memorable than two Giselles - the Giselle in which Baryshnikov made an American debut, partnering Makarova, with Cynthia Gregory as Myrtha, and the Giselle in which Veronica Tennant took the title role, with Nureyev as Albrecht, and Vanessa Harwood as the Queen of the Wilis. The two programs were given on July 27 and July 30 respectively. These are dates for the history books.
Olga Maynard – Dance Magazine, 1974
I saw Veronica Tennant give a most moving reading of the title role and her dancing throughout was immaculate. Tennant turned in a most beguiling performance with all the delicacy of phrasing that one associates with ballerinas from Pavlova to Markova.
Peter Williams – Dance & Dancers, 1975
The Giselle of Veronica Tennant is in the tradition of Alonso, Markova and, I suppose, Pavlova. She is a passionate creature, with strong technique.
Richard Buckle – The Sunday Times, 1975
Veronica Tennant as La Sylphide, gentle yet forceful, elegant and calm, was charming. There was a fugitive grace here that could not be missed. She gave Mr. Nureyev precisely the emotional balance that he needed.
Clive Barnes – New York Times, 1973
Miss Tennant is a lovely dancer, but perhaps more dramatic than pure classical. Her portrayal of the princess – from sweet 16 to the maturity of marriage – was nicely done, both the blush of youth and the dawn of womanhood being sensibly noted. Her balances were good, and her musical phrasing was consistently interesting. She is a dancer of distinction.
Clive Barnes – New York Times, 1974
Miss Tennant was romantically beautiful to watch in "Les Sylphides". Her mobility, poetic grace and exquisite lightness of touch to the stage threaded flawlessly through everything she did.
Alexander Fried – The Arts –1974
Miss Tennant has an electrifying technique which gives bedazzlement to the elaborate ballet vocabulary. She works with remarkable finish, and especially wide style reminiscent of Shura Danilova, and extraordinary aplomb. But it is the overall flair she brings to her achievement that distinguishes her.
The Hartford Courant, 1974
TENNANT & SMITH BURN UP BALLET STAGE
If there are scorch marks on the stage of the O'Keefe Centre this morning blame Veronica Tennant and Raymond Smith. … The dramatic leads in John Cranko's Onegin last night's passionate intensity of their final pas de deux generated enough heat to burn the house down.
Michael Crabb – The Toronto Star 1988
TENNANT UNLEASHES THE PASSIONS IN ONEGIN
A dance actress of remarkable range, Tennant reaches deep within her own psyche to unleash the feral passions necessary to make Cranko's Tatiana a character of naïve innocence yet unquenchable spirit.
Gary Smith – The Hamilton Spectator, 1989
Parting is such Sweet Sorrow – Romeo & Juliet Farewell, February 12th 1989
TENNANT BOWS OUT IN A BLAZE OF GLORY
In the minds of many Canadians, Tennant has always been the consummate Juliet. Her dancing has the dewy texture of youth, yet is sophisticated and deep. Her very presence tantalizes.
Deirdre Kelly – The Globe and Mail, 1989
A LIFE IN DANCE: VERONICA TENNANT
On February 12, 1989 Veronica Tennant danced her last Juliet for The National Ballet of Canada and so gloriously ended her career as she had begun it 25 years ago. She stood on the stage of the O'Keefe Centre bathed in cascades of flowers. The tumultuous applause refused to die.
Paula Citron – VANDANCE, 1989
TENNANT RADIATES YOUTH IN STUNNING LAST DANCE
A sad occasion? Yes and no. Yes because there is only one Veronica Tennant and she and the National Ballet have grown up together.
No, because she has had the wisdom and style to make her exit early rather than late. ….She was the best Canadian ballet had to offer.
William Littler – The Toronto Star, 1989
A Passion for Dance – Celebrating the Tennant Magic – Farewell Gala, November 21st 1989
HEADLINE: SHE COULD HAVE DANCED ALL NIGHT
As far as the oversold audience at the O'Keefe Centre last night was concerned, she could have danced all night and still they would have stayed and cheered. Veronica Tennant's farewell gala with the National Ballet of Canada was the kind of evening you wanted never to end... the parting image of Veronica Tennant as Tatiana in the last act of Crank's Onegin, ...best sums up her extraordinary gift of conveying profound emotion through the language of movement.
Michael Crabb – The Toronto Star, 1989
FOND FAREWELL TO A MARVELLOUS DANCER
"Force: if there's a word to describe Veronica Tennant's toe-hold on success, this may be it. A dancer of extraordinary depth and sincerity, she has been a force to reckon with in the ballet world for almost a quarter-century.""
"It was a fitting farewell to a leading Canadian ballerina: the dancing dazzled, the music flowed and the flowers just kept arriving"
Deirdre Kelly – The Globe and Mail, 1989